"Explain to me a thing," the Doctor requested, peering up from his papers to focus on the couple in front of him.
His eyes landed on the woman first, in time to catch her annoyed eye roll as she crossed her arms over her chest. Quirking an eyebrow, or lack of, the Doctor took note of her defensive stance and the way she leant back, pushing her shoulders into the padded booth as if trying to get away from him. Her hair fell in front of her pale face and obscured some of it from view.
The woman's husband (or ex-husband, he supposes. It was messy), had his hands clasped together on the table. The Doctor was well aware of the difference in personalities the couple had and was slightly relieved that the man was more submissive and open to discuss everything, even if his hands proved that he still had his defenses up.
"How is it that we don't talk for a month, and then you call us to meet so you can tell me that you're getting a divorce? Now, well I am aware of what can happen in a month's time, I doubt Rory would attempt to sleep with another woman. And Amy," the Doctor shrugged his shoulders at his friends, "Well, she wouldn't leave you out of it."
"Doctor," Amy snapped, lunging slightly at the table. The Doctor jumped back, still taken by surprise at Scott's sudden outburst.
"What happened?" the Doctor interrupted. He watched the duo with pleading eyes, begging for some kind of answer.
The Doctor had been friends with the Ponds for years, and had been together since before he had even met them. Amy and Rory had grown up together in Leadworth, while the Doctor was raised in Northampton.
He was a smart youth, excelling in his classes at Northampton School for Boys, as well as a talented boy. He played football in youth teams for Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, as well as Leicester City. At nineteen, the Doctor was an aspiring football player who had gotten a scholarship with De Montfort University. During one of the games, however, a member of the opposing team had shoved him roughly from the ball and into his teammate, Craig. After a lot of whistle blowing and yelling, silence fell over the crowd and Craig was pulled off the Doctor. The couches, referees, as well as his teammates crowded around, whispering and murmuring about what had just occurred. Worried glances were exchanged as the head coach knelt next to the Doctor. The Doctor had only been able to groan in pain as his coach requested that someone call an ambulance.
When he came to, the Doctor found himself in the hospital. Bright lights assaulted him as he tried to open his eyes. Squinting, he peered around the room to find his mother and sister standing to his left, while Craig loomed over his right. His mother called in his doctor, who proceeded to explain that the shove had made his head snap back, giving him what appeared to be whiplash. The force of which he was forced in to Craig, who had gotten a minor concussion, caused the larger man to fall on top of the Doctor. The Doctor's arm had been caught at a bad angle and fractured.
A few weeks later, the Doctor returned to the hospital, complaining he felt an electric shock every time he moved his neck. A Spurling's test was performed, as well as others. The Doctor waited patiently in the waiting room, fidgeting in his seat. He had the majority of the world zoned out until he heard a shrill scream. Multiple crashing and banging was heard over the squeaking of sneakers on the freshly waxed floor of what he believed to be the side entrance. The Doctor halted his movements and glued his eyes to the scene unfolding in front of him.
A blur of bright red hair was followed by two nurses who held onto the arms of whomever they were restraining. The receptionist jumped up from behind the desk and beckoned another nurse to get a stretcher. She then went back behind the desk and picked up the phone and paged who he guessed was either security or a doctor. It turned out to be both, he confirmed, when two men, one in a security uniform, the other in a long white lab coat, came bustling down the hall. The approached the stretcher, which the Doctor could then see held the ginger woman, who continued to struggle as the restrained her. The doctor pulled out a syringe and injected the woman with it, and in moments she had calmed down. As they wheeled her away, the Doctor could make out the nurses and doctor informing her of who they were and what their intentions were.
The Doctor looked up to see Doctor Swann, his doctor, sit down next to him. Doctor Swann gave him a look of regret as he pulled out some x-rays of the Doctor's neck, as well as some other papers. The hour following had been a blur, but the Doctor had picked out enough to get the gist of it. Doctor Swann explained to him what Spondylosis was, and that it could be helped with physiotherapy, or chiropractic manipulative therapy if he preferred, and that he'd be prescribed with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. As it turned out, it was a degenerative osteoarthritis in between the vertebrae, and the impact of the accident on the field brought it out. While it was manageable, it was also the end of the Doctor's career in football.
After, the Doctor had wandered for a while. He made his way through the endless corridors of the hospital, passing by numerous patients and family and friends. On the fourth floor, the Doctor turned the corner and almost got trampled. He grabbed on to their shoulders and held them at arm's length. He immediately recognized her as the ginger from earlier, who had been strapped to the stretcher. Upon further inspection, he noticed that she was almost as tall as him, and her wide eyes stood out against her pale flesh, which was even whiter under the harsh glow of the lights.
"Hello," he smiled, hoping to not scare her.
He apparently didn't, because she giggled and murmured "Raggedy man," with a strong Scottish twang. He quickly turned her around and gently began pushing her in the direction he suspected she came from. She continued to giggle and he figured she was still under the influence of whatever drug they had injected her with. Her converse squeaked harshly against the tiles and her ginger mane kept hitting him in the face as he tried to maneuver her.
The Doctor whipped his head around until his gaze landed on a young man, who looked to around the Doctor's age, if not early twenties, who was clad in light blue scrubs with a gray jumper hazardously hanging off his shoulders. His brown hair was shaggy and unkept, whatever gel had kept it quiffed hours before had since left, leaving it lying flat against his forehead. His eyes were large with shock and relief, or so the Doctor believed as the man approached.
The girl, or Amy, recognized him immediately. Stumbling from the Doctor's grasp, she threw herself into the man's arms. He wrapped them around her, holding her tight. One hand was smoothing down her hair while the other was rubbing circles on the small of her back.
"Rory," she sighed and held him tighter. The Doctor could hear a faint, "I'm not crazy," chanted repeatedly into Rory's sweater until he shushed her and assured that he knew and would get to the bottom of it.
"Where'd you find her?" Rory asked, finally making eye contact with the Doctor. As soon as he spoke, the Doctor knew he wasn't from Northampton.
"Down the hall, wandering," the Doctor informed. "I haven't seen you guys around here, before? Are you new?"
Rory visibly tensed and the Doctor immediately regretted it. He awkwardly shuffled his feet and was about to tell Rory to drop it before he spoke.
"She's here for treatment," and with that, Rory ushered Amy back to her room.
Later, Rory had gone to apologize to the Doctor, which the Doctor accepted right away as he realized that Rory was just stressed and protective. He had been allowed to visit Amy, and the two had hit it off quickly. Rory had taken some time to warm up, but Amy had promised the Doctor that it wasn't personal, and that Rory was usually really easy going.
Amy had moved from Scotland when she was ten, after her parents died, and had an imaginary friend she used as a mechanism to cope with the loss. Rory had been the only one willing to be her friend because the other children had thought she was crazy and bullied her. That was until she got older and boys began taking an interest in her, but she assured Rory that it was him she wanted, and they had been together since.
As it turned out, three months prior to coming to Northampton, Amy had been diagnosed with Schizophreniform disorder, which was a lot like Schizophrenia, but only lasted one to six months. She and Rory were planning on coming to Northampton a week later, but Amy was moved from the hospital earlier than expected. She barely had enough time to call Rory, and he had to drive up from Leadworth, which took almost 3 hours in itself.
Amy had stayed for treatment for another month until the doctors were positive the Schizophreniform was over. She and Rory had gone back, claiming they needed to tie up some "loose ends". In the time they were gone, the Doctor took the opportunity to change courses and go back to school to get the degrees needed to become a Psychologist. The school had been wary, but he was academically sound and had the capabilities to do so.
The Doctor had kept ties with Amy and Rory, as Amy had to go back to the hospital for checkups. Months after finishing school, the Doctor moved to Chiswick to be closer to the couple, who had resigned there shortly after marriage. The Doctor, being a now registered psychologist, worked in the hospital with Rory, who was a nurse. The Doctor worked as a counselling psychologist, helped people of all ages, and was always up for a challenge.
The Doctor lived alone in a small house just a block away from the Ponds, and was still close to the hospital. He made friends easily, even being the awkward, bumbling giraffe he is. But on his days off, he still resorted to working around his house, researching, or even just having tea on his deck with the company of the neighborhood stray, an old orange and white cat, lovingly named Henry by an elderly lady up the street.
And while the Doctor never minded solitude (in fact, he preferred it so he could think), he couldn't help but feel a twinge of jealousy towards his best friends, whose relationship was playful, loving, and faithful.
"Nothing happened, Doctor," Rory insisted that night, taking a sip of his tea.
"I still don't understand." The Doctor set his mug down and then reached up to retrieve a pack of Jammie Dodgers from the cupboard. He tore open the package and dumped the cookies on a plate before snatching on off and taking a bite. He chewed thoughtfully and swallowed, an idea popping into his head. "Rory, before she confronted you, how was she acting? What was her body language?"
Rory sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. "Really, Doctor? You're going to use your therapy skills on me?"
The Doctor shrugged, "Couldn't hurt to try."
Rory closed his eyes, remembering his conversation with his wife a few days before. "She was really cautious when she approached me. Kept her hands in her pockets, kick her feet against the floor. Right after she told me she wanted a divorce, she flinched as if she was expecting me to yell or something. And she of all people is well aware of the fact that I don't really yell unless I'm excited or something."
"Did you ask why she wanted a divorce?"
"Of course I did. She just said she wasn't feeling it anymore. And I don't think that's it, because a few days before, she was feeling it." Rory's mouth twisted in what could have been a smirk if his face was drowned in sorrow.
"What about her hands? Any gestures?" the Doctor persisted. His tea sat forgotten beside him as he reached for another biscuit.
"She kept touching her nose, not like an itch, but just around the center of her face."
"People do that when they lie," the Doctor stated matter-of-factly.
"I'm well aware that she was lying, Doctor. I just don't get why," he explained, dropping his now empty mug into the sink. The Doctor followed suit as Rory disappeared down the hallway. He found Rory in the guest room, pulling out clothes from his suitcase for the next day.
"You know you can stay for as long as you need, right?" the Doctor asked.
Rory nodded, keeping himself busy. "I don't want to impose myself on you or anything, I'll get out of your hair as soon as I can."
The Doctor sighed, "You two will make up soon, and I know you will."
Rory finally looked up at him. "Thanks again, for letting me stay. I don't know how to repay you."
"You can start by driving me to work tomorrow?" the Doctor raised an eye brow in suggestion.
Rory chuckled, "What happened to the TARDIS?"
"Giving the old girl a rest," the Doctor explained, smiling fondly at the thought of his car.
"Did she break?"
"Uh, no. She would never break. She always come through." The Doctor sassed.
"Then what happened?"
The Doctor stepped out of the guest room and paused before answering, "I just think it'd be nice to give her a rest. Which I will also give myself. Night Rory."
The Doctor was surprised to find Rory peering inside the TARDIS when he locked his door the next morning. He had almost missed it while making his way down the lawn to Rory's car when he noticed the absent driver. He scanned the area to find his friend by the garage, hand through the open window. Annoyed, the Doctor huffed loud enough for Rory to hear.
Rory jumped at the sound, turning awkwardly to face the Doctor. He shuffled down the driveway and unlocked the door before rounding the rear of the car in order to get it. The Doctor did the same and placed his backpack at his feet and reached down to tighten the laces on his boots.
The ride to the hospital was relatively silent, except for the radio. Traffic was light in the early morning so it didn't take long to arrive. Rory stopped briefly while they were getting out of the car and gave the Doctor a skeptical look.
"There's a cat in the TARDIS."
The Doctor didn't even glance up, instead tucking a paper in his breast pocket and swinging his bag over his shoulder. "You don't understand, Rory."
"Then explain it to me, Doctor."
The Doctor briskly passed him, giving him a "Come along, Pond," rather than an explanation.
Scribbling another signature onto the form, the Doctor sighed in boredom at how long his day felt. It was only ten in the morning, and he and Rory had been at the hospital since 6 and the day just dragged on and on. The few patients who were awake during his last round were polite and cheerful, but still didn't show signs of improvement and coping for their mental illness. The lights were flickering when he went up at 9:30, and when he calmed the few who were panicking, he found 11 year old Emma Yates who had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder flicking them on and off in the midst of a compulsion.
He had to do a write up about it in order to keep track, and made sure to stress the importance of her "compulsion blocker" which he made her doing in order to get it to stop. He hoped that when she went home her parents would actually take the time to help Emma, rather than leaving her in the care of the hospital when they believed it was too much for them to handle.
"Doctor?" accompanied by a tap on his shoulder caught his attention. Rose Tyler, who worked in the Pediatric department, was at his side. Her large eyes were wide and urgent and her blonde hair was falling out of the ponytail it was in. He noticed the blood on her lab coat and turned to face her fully and he quickly realized it wasn't her blood.
He followed Rose back to the petite woman, who wore a short red dress darkened in blood. Her hands were shaking and pulling at her brunette locks, and she kept smearing the crimson carnage on her flushed cheeks. She had drops splattered over her collarbone, evident in the off-shoulder dress.
"I don't know where I am, I don't know where I am," she kept repeating, her strong northern accent on faltering every few words. The Doctor gently placed a hand on her bare shoulder and led her to an empty stretcher. She continued her chant, becoming frantic as she began scratching at her arms. He and Rose pushed the stretcher into an empty room that Rose had requested while he was taking the woman to the stretcher.
"Hey, hey there," he breathed, putting both hands on her shoulder and getting her to focus on him. He stared into her dark brown eyes as tears began to pool at the edges.
"I don't- I don't know where I am. Where am I?" she sniffled. Her bottom lip quivered in an effort to stop the tears.
"You're at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea's Hospital. I'm Doctor John Smith. What's your name, love?" The Doctor asked, desperate to get some kind of answers.
"Oswin Oswald," she cried. Tears fell from her eyes and made trails in the blood on her cheeks, which the Doctor wiped away.
"Okay, Oswin, I'm going to need you to lie down so I can figure out where the blood is coming from," he explained. She looked confused for a moment before looking down. The Doctor watched in slight shock as her eyes rolled back at the sight of the blood, before he braced her while he laid her down, unconscious.